Guy Benson


Ignoring Congress, hiking taxes, increasing spending "for the children."  It's how he rolls:

Unwilling to ask Congress for extra funds to pay for high-speed Internet connections in schools, President Obama is instead looking to tack yet another charge on cellphones through the Federal Communications Commission. The new program, called ConnectED, would expand an existing school-wiring effort and cost each cellphone user about $5 a year, said White House officials. Obama is relying on the fee hike to avoid dealing with a Congress that White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest yesterday described as “dysfunctional.” “Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a lot of action in Congress, so the president has advocated an administrative, unilateral action to get this done.” Administration officials said the added fee would sunset after three years after generating about $6 billion. But critics worry it would continue forever.

The White House would like you to know this is no big deal:

Pressed on the program yesterday, [WH spokesman] Earnest denied the program was an “end run” around Congress. “This is a program that’s already in place. They just need to make a decision about whether or not they want to update this program so they can wire schools to the Internet. The president thinks that’s a no-brainer,” he said. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) slammed the “endless expansion of the program at the expense of rate payers.”

Yes, this is "a program that's already in place."  But Obama is asking an executive agency to increase everyone's cell "fees" for the express purpose of generating revenue to fund a separate government program.  That's called a tax.  And taxes emanate from Congress, for which this president has no tolerance or respect.  After all, many elected members disagree with him on a host of issues, thus he believes he's justified in acting alone to do away with this "dysfunction" -- otherwise known as the democratic process.  I happen to believe that most schools would benefit from access to high speed internet.  Whether the federal government is the best facilitator of that goal is a separate question, as are the funding mechanisms.  Doesn't this endeavor sounds like an infrastructure project?  Why couldn't the $825 billion 'stimulus' law of 2009 have covered this?  Perhaps these funds or this money could have been put to better use.  Finally, this president campaigned on a "firm pledge:" His policies would not raise any taxes on people or families who make less than $200,000 and $250,000, respectively.  That vow has been trampled to death by Obamacare's mandate tax, regressive cigarette taxes, and tanning taxes, among others.  This plan represents an extra tax increase that will affect every cell phone owner in America, including tens of millions of middle class and working class Americans.  It will disproportionately impact the people who can least afford higher cell phone bills.  But damn the legislative process, firm pledges and other concerns -- it's just a small tax increase, and it's for The Children.  So shut up.  I discussed this controversy on Fox News yesterday afternoon:



Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography